Friday, December 17, 2010

Snowy sheep

You know we've gotten a few feet of snow in Minnesota, so far this fall/winter-- nearly two feet of it last week. Another six inches yesterday.  I am tired of shoveling now.

We made excellent, two-foot wide paths from building to pump house to hay barn to sheep fence, so that we could pull the beloved black hay sled from one feeding site to the next.  Several five-gallon water pails fit in it;  two bales of hay, stacked, also fit. So I haul the sled out with water in it, and bring it back with a bale or two, every day.
Yesterday I waited until late in the afternoon to do chores, and when I got to the far barns, I noticed a curious absence of a certain young ram lamb, LittleRedOak Aspen. A busy guy, he's usually right at the gate when I come near, looking for hay.  He and a little Finn roommate have been bunking in a small corral next to the old lean-to, which has the "maidens" in it-- ewe lambs we aren't breeding this year.  It frightened me to think that he might've done what we had decided he couldn't-- used a new, 4' snow drift to leap the fence into that pen of attractive maidens... but I found the ewe lambs blinking, alone, unaccosted.
I went around the back side of the ewes' shed and, yee gods!, found Aspen dangling from the gate, one leg hooked in its  metal mesh.  He'd been there awhile, judging by the snow on his coat (the snow had stopped falling hours earlier) and other signs.  Thankfully, his front feet were planted on snow on the this side of the fence.
Am I awful?  I worried a great deal about his pinned leg-- could the circulation have been cut off so long it was frostbitten?  Will I have to put him down?
But what I also thought was, "I'm glad he didn't breed those girls".
I'll head out there now to see how he's getting around.


Michelle said...

No, you're not awful - or I AM, because I would have thought the same thing!

Becky Utecht said...

Quite a contrast from when I found my expensive BFL ram in the same position this fall! It's funny how fast things run through your mind at a time like that. I have to admit I did think to myself what a nice hide I'd have if Harwell didn't make it. His fleece is the best of all my BFL's I sure hope I get some of his lambs on the ground. He didn't limp for long after his hanging episode, but I notice that he favors that foot in the cold weather. He's a big boy, I still can't believe he didn't break it. Good luck with your lamb, he must have nice fleece too for you to have retained him.

Gail V said...

His leg looks pretty bad today, Becky. I've made a Monday butcher date (on advice of the vet, by phone) which I CAN cancel, if Aspen's looking okay. This little guy does have nice fleece, but is also one of the two smooth polled lambs I got this year. I may call you about your ram and how it went.

Becky Utecht said...

Oh no, that's too bad Gail. Is it just swelling or is there an actual break in the bone and/or the skin? I wrote about Harwell's episode on my blog on October 22. The vet I consulted with by phone advised Banamine injections twice a day for three days to keep the swelling down. She also said to keep him in a small pen well away from the ewes. I gave him Nutridrench and one shot of Banamine. He was so crazed by the Shetland cycling, he went right back to jumping the fence and breeding within hours. He only had a slight limp for a couple days. Your little guy sounds like he's in worse shape. But if his leg is not actually broken, I would try the Banimine and rest treatment for him and maybe a splint if you think that would help. Good luck!

Becky Utecht said...

Forgot to say, you are so lucky to be able to get a butcher date so quickly. Hoping you won't need to keep it.

Nancy K. said...

DAMN those rams!